It had a Julia Roberts grin and everything.

I know I often joke that all I do here is talk about poop, but today I want to do just that. I mean, wanting to talk about dropping bum bombs is never far from my mind, but occasionally I write something about pop-culture or what I’m eating. Recent entries have focused on the ins and outs of keto. This one’s all about the outs, because today I dropped a game changer. Enough preamble, let’s get into this.

I’m mildly obsessed with what comes out my poop chute. Since childhood I’ve never ceased to find the hilarity in shitting. My first level up came when I discovered how to really poop. The raised ankles technique. Talk about a game changer. Where I’d previously strained and struggled to cleanse my intestines, I found a smooth sortie at my disposal (pun intended, obviously). I had my first metaphorical taste of slick bowel action and I wanted more. I looked into foods with high fibre content and folded them into my diet. Cabbage was a godsend. I oddly discovered it when a bunch of us went out for Korean. As an entree they put down a plate of chopped raw cabbage and QP mayonnaise. I loved it. I started steaming, roasting and sometimes downing it raw. I adapted chia seeds into my porridge. I started drinking coffee. The pieces came together and the faeces flowed easily. Bliss.

Keto has constricted my stream like a noose around my anus. It’s been hard to reckon with the loss of what had once been a point of pride. It’s not my first time mentioning this, so you know I mean it. This was one of the primary tools in my arse-nal. I’ve been recently reaching for something that just isn’t there. Sitting in my misery, waxing nostalgic for those days of long soft-serve strands. Better, more innocent times.

Today I had a breakthrough. Maybe the psyllium husk is kicking in. Or perhaps I drank the right quantity (read: lots) of coffee. In any case I felt a familiar burbling in my bowels and got excited. For some reason the lyrics “I’m gonna do a poo” popped into my head, to the tune of “We’re Going to the Zoo”. I, a nearly 31 year old man, giggled to myself. I was eager to unload. I sat down, raised my heels and grabbed my ankles. I didn’t strain, it all came naturally. I looked down and saw it. In the bowl there was a cute little mild curve, like the mouth of a smiley emoticon. I had a revelation. I felt the next package making its way down. I let a little come through, then pinched off a small nugget. It landed perpendicular to the smile, directly above it. Was I doing this? I tilted my buttocks to the right and moved an inch back in my seat. I pinched off another dot. It landed just to the top left of the first one. I took a breath, shifted my buttocks to the left and pinched out the last dot. I waited a second, heart racing, then looked down at what I’d done. Had I accomplished my grand design? My Mona Lisa Smile?



What kind of change was I expecting?

I feel quite bushed. Worn out. Flattened. Wrecked. Ruined might be stretching it a bit far, but in any case I’m feeling under the weather. Easy sentiment when it’s snowy and gross out. I stayed home from work today. I tried, oh God did I try. I got on a crowded bus down to the station. The train platform was wall to wall people. I felt sweaty and achy. Slightly out of it. I’ve felt a little off all day. I’m still not right as rain. I wish I could blame all the tired and cliché expressions I’m tossing out on that, but really they’re a part of who I am. In any case, I headed back to work from home, but on the way realised I was quite possibly unwell. Temperature of 96.5°, which isn’t crazy far off, but neither is it a picture of perfect health. I tend to feel guilty taking sick days, but end most years with an abundance of them. They’re there (there, there) for a reason right?

This weird thing has happened in the past few years, that if I’m just butting around at home I have a hard time doing zero productive things. I tried to take it easy today, but still kept pottering around, doing washing and the like. At some point I resolved to take it easier and tooled around on the internet. I watched a couple of episodes of Lovesick‘s new season. The show is fine, watchable and totally mindless. In short, it’s basically the perfect kind of sick day TV.

I could’ve picked up my malaise from any number of convalescent pals. Hell, my girlfriend has been feeling a bit run over lately. It would surprise me zero at all to discover that the dastardly keto flu was still hanging about. I knew I had to increase my sodium intake, but most days I’ve been getting up to one or two grams. Apparently for the first little while I should be at three or four grams per day. Six days in, I still have no idea if I’ve entered ketosis. I do know that (unlike the first few days) I’m actually getting hungry around meal time. That could also be the fact that I’m hovering around 1400 calories per day. It’s not a huge amount, especially on gym days.

One thing that hasn’t sorted itself out yet is my digestive tract. I’m still not pooping like I want to be pooping. Let’s get one thing straight, before trying keto, pooping was one of my legit skills. I read a great article years ago about someone who created a blog where she’d do absolutely everything Oprah suggested for a year. The logline (seriously, no pun intended. You’ll see) was about doing “S” shaped poops. Oprah had a guest on who talked about stool health (maybe this show is up my alley). They said that a poop with two curves was an indication of a great digestive tract. Since then, I’ve prided myself on my ability to create lengthy and curvy poops in all manner of shapes. “S” was almost too easy. I’ve made “M/W”s, pretzels, ampersands and maybe even the Prince symbol. Once I discovered coffee, I’d poop even more. I’d drop heavy loads many times per day. I felt transcendent. Lighter than air, even.

As for the last few days, it’s dwindled to rabbit pallets and fun size bars. I expected that I’d lose weight on this diet, but I didn’t think I’d lose such a massive part of myself. I feel like I’ve lost a part of my core identity. Still, I’m not gonna take this sitting down. I’ve been continuing to drink coffee and eating a ton of fibrous foods. While I wasn’t sure if they were keto, I’ve discovered that I could fold chia seeds and nutritional yeast back into my diet. I got a bag of psyllium husk powder, so we’ll wait and see if that penny drops (though I’d be happier if it were a pound).

At the end of the day, it’s all about the bottom dollar.

Is there anything a seven year old boy could love more than dinosaurs performing fatalities?

Because I want to write about anything but keto today (it’s… going. At least I had a couple of lil’ baby poops today), I’m gonna turn my attention to some of the new Magic the Gathering spoilers for Rivals of Ixalan. If Magic ain’t your thing, come back tomorrow (when I’ll most definitely mention poop again).

Dinos, pirates and… vampire conquistadors? Oh my. Rivals of Ixalan is a mere week or two away and I’m excited to dig into these EDH goodies. While standard will no doubt continue to be relatively stale while Scarab God and the full energy suite are in the format, Ixalan is at least buffing up Commander with some fun new toys. In sublimely selfish fashion, I’m gonna look at some nifty gains for my Primal enRage deck helmed by Marath of the Wild. Let’s get into it!

I talked about what the deck would resemble here, but as a basic primer for what the deck does, it tries less to be a boring Marath toolbox and more to enable Enrage shenanigans (or legacy Enrage style abilities like Stuffy Doll, Boros Reckoner, Spitemare, Sprouting Phytohydra, etc). Most everything in there passes the Aether Flash test and if I ever get out Pyrohemia, it’s a good time (for me, not others). It’s been playing alright, but has needed a couple more cards to eke out wins. What does Rivals bring us?

First up we have Zacama, Primal Calamity. This big ol’ dino comes in and stomps the world around him flat. Have you got a fancy robot or aura? Dead. What about your precious tiny critters? Taste Zacama’s heel! Nine mana is a ton. There’s no getting around that. However, my Marath deck does a fair bit of ramping thanks to the usual complement of staples (Kodama’s Reach, Cultivate, format all star Fertilid, etc) and the deck’s MVP: Ranging Raptors. Getting to 11 mana isn’t uncommon or difficult, so Zacama will do its fair share of work. Thankfully I don’t run Temur Sabretooth or Cloudstone Curio. I’m not interested in winning with cheesy infinite mana combos.

Forerunner of the Empire isn’t a dino, but he grabs them. The card isn’t amazing, but it has a couple of features I like. First off, he passes the Aether Flash test. Secondly, he grabs dinos while enabling them. That static ability not only does work (especially with a Rite of Passage in play) with getting Enrage online, but it’s a “may” ability to prevent me from destroying all of my own stuff. I expect that Raptor Hatchling will be BFFs with this dude (after it gets a +1/+1 counter or two from Marath).

Forerunner’s next best friend is bound to be Polyraptor. This silly bulk mythic is a pumped up version of Sprouting Phytohydra that can actually attack and makes 5/5s, which have a habit of ending the game. I’ve gotta watch out for its interaction with Aether Flash, which creates an endless loop if I don’t have some way of ending it. In goes Impact Tremors, so I can at least burn out all my opponents while I’m at it. If this thing costs eight to cast, I’m alright with an unwieldy three card combo to close out games.

Another fat, splashy dino is what’s being translated at the moment as Silver-Armored Ferocidon. The ability could work out to be pretty mean, or at the very least help me end games. Running Pyrohemia, this could put the kibosh on my opponents’ boardstate, especially with Seedborn Muse on the table. These are the kind of large scale Enrage effects the deck was missing.

Speaking of large scale Enrage effects, “Trapjaw Regisaur” is a doozy. There are some serious Deepthroat shenanigans going on with this lizard. Does it have a black hole for a stomach? In any case, while I don’t expect it to survive forever, it should manage to keep a couple of my opponents’ creatures at bay while the rest of mine slay. It’s competitively costed and sized and earns its slot. God forbid if I manage to give it indestructible or hexproof. Or what if I pinged it a bunch of times in response to a wrath in order to save my other dinos?

Like this lil’ guy. Siegehorn Ceratops. It starts out tiny, but gets massive pretty damn quickly. It’ll need help from Marath to survive Aether Flash, but if it does I’ll have gained a 4/4 for 3 that’ll only grow. Imagine having a 5/5 Marath and this, having the capacity to make a 12/12 at will? Seems sweet as fuck.

The last dino I’m considering is less fierce, but a useful roleplayer. Also it saves Siegehorn Ceratops from Aether Flash. Temple Altisaur. See, my favourite sweeper in the deck is Blasphemous Act (for good reason. It’s like dropping a Brick… House on the board). It plays very well with all of the Stuffy Doll variants. It does, however, kill my critters, even if my Enrage dinos give off a parting shot. In other words, it’s a saur spot. The Altisaur doesn’t survive Blasphemous Act, but it’s pretty much dino Jesus, sacrificing itself for the rest of the herd. Or, y’know, it just puts on Darksteel Plate and goes to town. If Boros Reckoner gives its life by dealing 13 damage, I’m probably okay with that.

I’d always hoped that Rivals would give Primal enRage the boost it needed. In a few weeks, there’ll be no more need for dreams. The set isn’t even all spoiled, but I feel like I have been.

Shooting the shit and hitting those targets.

This online dating thing really hasn’t been doing much to accelerate my foray into polyamory. In the 5 or 6 months since I started venturing down this path, I’ve met a grand total of zero women who have been interested enough in the concept of dating someone who has a girlfriend. Well, that’s not entirely true. I had a date all ready and scheduled, but it fell through several times. I figured if she was that busy, it probably wasn’t worth the effort. I’ve sent out numerous messages that either weren’t received well or maybe didn’t even get perused in the first place. The less my actions garner responses, the less inclined I am to keep chipping away. The incentive dies down when the feeling is an inevitable lack of equivocal attention. It’s ok, I’m not letting it get to me. It’s pretty hard getting down in the dumps when you’ve got the backing of a supportive partner in a great relationship.

The thing that online dating has helped with is finding friends. My favourite ex-girlfriend was a gal I met online. We still hang out and come together over our mutual love of excessive eating and vegetative viewing habits. She’s an excellent person that I’m lucky to still have in my life. Most of the community I’ve met in Toronto, including some of my closest friends (involving my afore/oft-mentioned girlfriend) stemmed from my date with this girl. If it wasn’t for our shared sense of humour and love of puns, it’s likely I wouldn’t have been brought into such a tightly knit community who enrich my Toronto existence. That one gal, aside from being one of the strongest, hardworking, clever and spirited people I know, helped me more than either of us ever would’ve expected from a once off meeting.

Today I met yet another person physically who was previously an online dating presence. Our personalities seemed to gel, but she wasn’t into the idea of poly dating. I resolved to just be friends because finding a good connection doesn’t have to be a sexual thing. Finally having our schedules align today, we gave it a shot. I meet a ton of people and instantly try to push towards a rapport, but it’s rare for that rapport to open so quickly into a constant barrage of riffing bits. Arriving to see her in the park lying down with a potted plant by her side, she didn’t even turn her head to face me. She spoke “I can’t tell if I just have bad luck and happen to accidentally interrupt fly orgies, or if they actively seek me out just to fuck above my head.” A small swarm buzzed about, zipping back and forth above her. The more we spoke the increasingly irreverent the conversation began.

We contemplated potential new flashy Japanese toilet ideas. Like “what if we constructed a gyno table at a 45″ angle solely for pooping?” “What if it had an enema attached for a total clean?” “Well this is Japanese, right? Surely after the enema had finished pushing out water there’d be a vacuum to make the process super efficient?” We moved on to more artistically inclined topics, such as her idea of trying to poop out a rainbow. “What if you spaced it out perfectly, eating only a single thing that would turn your poop a certain colour, trying for the whole spectrum to do one large multicoloured poop”? “Wouldn’t it be more effective and collaborative to have 7 people focusing on a different colour?” “I guess, but you might need to stagger ingestion times in order to have people poop around the same time. You don’t want the cabbage pooper to drop prematurely.” We ate her abundant scones left over from a cancelled house warming party and discussed inequalities inherent to power struggles, cultural inheritance of indigenous culture and brutal outdated societal norms. Also how great Louie is. In short, it was easily the best friend date I’ve had in some time. All thanks to online dating. Maybe it’s not worth giving up the ghost just yet.

Marshmallow Porn as the unwitting Pulitzer of the future?

My favourite thing at work is when my co-workers talk about reality TV. It’s fascinating. I’m not intending to be facetious or condescending here, hearing them speak about these various celebrities and people of fame is genuinely enthralling. They’re so attuned to their shows they all seem to watch that they’ll motor through them like a bullet train. I’ll often stumble into the conversation after catching a snippet here or there. I’ll take off my headphones and listen a little closer. I’ve been caught out so many times thinking they’re talking about friends, relatives, other people around the office. Each time I’m struck by how dynamic and dramatic their lives are. This person is cheating on this person, but doesn’t realise their partner is pregnant. Also that Chris guy seems to really get pushed around by Kanye a bunch, but he’s still laughing all the way to the bank, apparently. It’s really intriguing the relationship that’s built up here. Audience members are so exposed to intimate details (no matter how manufactured they seem to be. C’mon, I couldn’t be entirely without cynicism here) and events within these characters’ lives and it creates the appearance of a fully realised human being.

Subsidiary social media only bulks this out more. Twitter accounts, Instagram feeds and Facebook posts- while no doubt carefully curated and run by skilled social network teams- deliver multiple platforms in which these characters can come alive. When we’re used to experiencing our friends primarily through their online facsimiles, how different are the relationships we share between celebrities and people we know? The content has still all been curated, whether by professionals or the individual’s own filter. Who are we to decide what authenticity really means in this context? What relationship has more depth out of celebrity idolatry (in which you’ve been privy to endless hours of personal information) and a mutual friend of a co-worker you briefly said hi to at a party and added because you liked the way they wore a smile? They’re both one-sided relationships of sorts until you flesh them out. Besides, who’s more likely to respond to your comments? Someone who accepted your friend request to bolster their friend count or Azealia Banks?

I’ve never had a meaningful exchange with someone renown online, but that’s more symptomatic of not seeking out those experiences. The limiting factors are dedication and a willingness to put myself out there in front of The Internet’s judgement. If I wanted to get my voice out there I’d need something significant enough to say to cut through the noise. Even if I sculpted something spectacular, my words would outlast the impression I made and I’d be a faceless name in the crowd. The likelihood of that transpiring in any real life friendship with a figure of note is minimal, but not impossible. Accessibility to those who we place on pedestals has never been easier. The inequality gap of fame is shrinking bit by bit as new celebrities are forged overnight through viral internet fame. The internet dangles that carrot in front of our face all too readily. We’re all online celebs in the making, we just need to combine timing and message. Hell, I could write something that gets picked up, shared and proliferated around the world, changing the scope of my audience from that of a small classroom to a small city.

It’d only last until they found the turd dinosaurs entry in any case.

Some might say my writing can be drivel at times. Who am I to disagree?

As a child I was a drooler. Severely. I don’t remember myself as an infant (because even with the perspective ageing brings, it’s hard to widen your scope that much), but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn I’d constantly been blowing big bubbles of spit. Forget hubba bubba, I’d been home brewing. I chewed a lot too. Most of my baby toys bore the brunt of my gummy maw. My blankey was akin to a wonka style everlasting beef jerkey. More telling is my old plush Richard Scarry choo choo train, which, for reasons of fading print, became eventually dubbed the “oo choo train”. Passengers mysteriously faded from their eternal voyage along with the locomotive’s branding. Whatever crazy intention (get it? Loco-motive? Okay, that was reaching a bit far) I had for chewing everything that moved, it meant that streams of spit flowed freely whenever I didn’t dam the falls with an appropriate pacifier.

One of my favourite stories involved a kindergarten photo. A fellow classmate decided she had a thing for me and took the posed moment of the photo as a chance to spring at me. I bolted and the photographer caught us mid-chase, a line of drool suspended from my lips. Gross, but adorably so within the right frame. A photo frame perhaps? I actually have no idea if it actually happened. She told me the story a few years later when we were in primary school and I liked it so much I wanted to believe her. I think I’ve deigned to hold it as truth regardless, just because I want to believe.

I got better as I aged, but slowly. Speech therapy helped a bunch, but apart from my totally solvable lisp (which I solved myself years later), I also spat when I got excited and attempted talking. It took me quite some time to shake this habit, but as with most of my undesirable proclivities, I made an effort to move past it. I kept the overly excitable demeanour, which usually resurfaces after a drink or two, but I think the front rows don’t get quite so drenched anymore.

Ever so often when I get to a totally safe, comfortable place, this habit will resurface a little. Spitting isn’t on the radar any more, but after an exceptional massage I’ve been known to leave a little wet patch by the side of my mouth. When I snooze in a room that’s a little too warm, I think I’ve got a propensity to mouth-breathe a little, judging by the occasional puddle on a pillow. It feels a tad gross, but moreso it sends me back to an earlier time in my life. Like so many nostalgia trips, it puts me in a place of comfort, of innocence. Transporting me to a time before troubles and worries became truly realised, when I felt uninhibited by so many social graces. I gripped the world with an ardent intensity I rarely regain. It felt amazing to be so involved, so passionate and captivated that I didn’t think to hold myself back. I miss that, and while it may seem odd to connect myself to that ardour by a line of spittle, it’s certainly difficult to look back along that stream and not see a tangible connection.

Then again, there are certainly adult ways of showing passion where good lubrication comes in handy. So maybe all isn’t lost.


By the way, after yesterday’s emotional clusterfuck I promised you guys a poo joke. Not being one to renege on a pledge, here’s one I thought of on the fly:

Q. What did the gunslinger give to his doctor?
A. A pistool sample.

Told you I’d give it a shot.

Hey guys, I got to use the “Turd Dinosaurs” category again. O frabjous day!

I have company tonight and as such haven’t had the time to watch Community. Consequently, I’ve found that most of my usual haunts on the interwebs are strictly out of bounds. A spoiler? In my vagina? It’s more likely than you think (the spoilers, not my possession of a vagina. Can anyone really own a vagina?). The way that we obsess over television these days and how habitual our viewing/surfing patterns are has become strangely ritualistic. So much of the pull in engaging with a programme is the idea of shared consumption. We don’t merely watch a show like Community, we talk about it on Facebook. We join wanktastic circle-jerks/meme repositories just so we can repeat our favourite catch phrases in front of internet strangers in exchange for meaningless validation. We scour review sites, absorb creator/cast interviews, participate in heated online competitions against other fandoms. Wait, why am I using the 2nd person narrative here? Clearly I’m just talking about myself (for a change).

To be honest though, I feel like my fandom has greatly declined in favour of my borderline stalker preoccupation with Dan Harmon. I still love the show, but my torch seems to be lit for Rick and Morty right now and I love Harmontown more than either. That being said, some of the overzealous fanbase that I’ve come to realise flock towards nerdy/geeky shows are making me increasingly leery of using the term “fan” for myself. I’m sure you know the type, yelling and excitable about everything, repeating lines in time with whatever you’re watching, latching onto catch phrases (if I never hear some variant of “TROY AND ABED IN ___ ___________” again I’ll die happy. Also if I get a cool, fluffy dog I’d die happy too, but that’s not relevant right now) as a child does, repeating them when they’re been driven 6 feet under ground already. These people make me ashamed and self-conscious about identifying as a fan. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with them being so enthusiastic either, I’m almost jealous that there’s something that they care about that much. Is that it though? Do I care just as much as these people do? Am I just choosing to present my enthusiasm through different means (e.g. Not shouting at the top of my lungs)?

It’s tricky, because I love being invested in these things so much, but this kind of aggressively rabid behaviour makes me hesitant to announce my “allegiance to the cause” in public at times. You’d think that in a “safe space” populated with other fans I’d feel ok letting my freak flag fly, but something about it doesn’t feel right to me. It’s possible to be a massive fan of something without devolving into a slavering boorish mess, right? Maybe it’s a natural resurgence of New Zealand’s tall poppy syndrome coming to the fore.

I’ve just realised that this is easily the worst thing I’ve written in a while. I’m not even gonna finish those thoughts. With just over 2 minutes left I’ve come to accept that this won’t become remotely impassioned, I’m writing on a subject that I’m not dramatically invested in. Does that invalidate everything I’ve just typed? No, they’re genuine words that’ve been intentionally arranged before this paragraph. They’re just not very good ones. Well, I like the word “consequently” anyway, it just flows off the tongue. The question, I guess, that arises next is whether or not this project is served by putting things out that I can’t really get behind? I think the value exists just as much in being able to adopt self-criticism. Part of becoming a better writer is getting to know what you’ve done that doesn’t work and ensuring it doesn’t happen again.

I’m sure it will though. Because I’m only human.

And a few dinosaur genes.